Earlier this summer, we shared a few thoughts about the hot housing market, suggested some building options, and explained the pandemic’s lingering effects on the construction industry. Learn more in the post “Tired of the Wild Housing Market? Consider Building New.”
Now that we’re heading into fall, we caught up with Project Development Manager Zach Larrick to see what, if anything, has changed. We also asked Zach about the importance of planning.
In July, the cost of building materials, especially lumber, was sky high. Has it come down any?
“It might be a while before we see lumber costs in the ‘normal’ range again, but prices are on a downward trend, so that’s good news. It’s important to note that while lumber may be coming down slightly, other building materials and supplies remain at all-time highs.”
The pandemic continues to slow down the permitting and manufacturing processes. What are some typical wait times right now?
“Building permits can take about ten to twelve weeks to process. Custom cabinets can take eight to ten weeks from order to delivery. And higher-end windows can take twelve to sixteen weeks to fabricate. We’re confident wait times will eventually improve, but for now, many cities and vendors are still playing catch up from their backlog of requests.”
Can a homeowner do anything to reduce supplier wait times, or get their foot in the door with a busy vendor?
“I recommend working with an established builder that has a great reputation with its suppliers. At HighCraft, we’ve spent twenty-three years building good working relationships with our vendors. They trust us, we trust them, and loyalties run deep. When materials are scarce and suppliers have to prioritize jobs, they’re going to work with a company that has supported them through thick and thin over the years – a company they trust.”
How important is planning to a construction project?
“Planning is the secret sauce. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – it’s so much easier and cheaper to move a wall on paper than during construction. A good plan allows us to create a realistic and efficient production schedule so the project flows, start to finish, without sudden stops and starts. Our experience has shown the more thorough the preparation, the smaller the margins of error, and the more smoothly a project goes.”
“At HighCraft, everything is planned out on the front end so there are no surprises. Thorough planning gives us the confidence to provide a fixed price and a guaranteed completion date. That’s who we are at HighCraft, a bunch of Type-A planners on a full service design-build team. That Type-A level of planning means we live in the details for our clients, and that’s where it all comes together – in the details.”
How long should the planning process take?
“For remodeling, a good rule of thumb is to give pre-construction planning the same amount of time it takes to do the actual construction. A full kitchen gut and remodel, for example, might take four months of just planning. Expect six to eight months of design time to build a custom home. Be cautious if someone says they’re going to plan your kitchen remodel in two months, and can finish in four. It’s just not realistic given all the industry delays and moving parts right now.”
How would you respond to someone who says, “I know what I want. Why does it take so long to pull it all together?”
“Again, there are a lot of moving parts to any building project. There’s the initial appointment, taking measurements, creating as-built plans. Then there’s the conceptual design, construction drawings, engineering, historic or HOA reviews, zoning and planning reviews, financing, obtaining building permits, interior design iterations, and ordering materials, just to name a few. It all takes time, especially to do it right.”
For folks who want to start a project in the coming year, when should they start planning?
“Now is the perfect time to start planning if you want to start construction in the spring.”
Whether you’re ready to design a new custom home, build an addition, or remodel what you have, HighCraft’s experienced design-build team is here to help with your project – and it all begins with a good plan. Contact HighCraft with questions or to schedule a free consultation.